Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Climbing, a mountain, Canada.
Interest: climbing and spraying
I recently had the opportunity to return both an Arcteryx shell jacket (Goretex) and a Westcomb shell jacket (NeoShell) due to warranty issues.
The Arcteryx jacket had a side seam, along the pit zip, completely delaminate. I had received the jacket as a gift several years previously and had no receipt. I took it into the factory store on Dollarton. They checked the tag, determined it was not a factory second from their store and that therefore it was covered by warranty, and assured me that a warranty rep would be in touch.
By the time I got home, the rep had already sent me an email. They were out of that make of jacket, but he would be pleased to offer me any one of three other jackets. The jacket I had returned had originally sold new for $ (price) - he offered me a the choice of similar jacket at the same price, another similar jacket that sold for $50 more, or another, slightly different jacket that retailed for $100 more. I chose the model of the three that was most suited to my needs, in the nicest colour of the ones available, and Arcteryx shipped it directly to me at no cost. Total turn-around time was about one week.
In the case of the Westcomb jacket, I had owned it for about 2 years and it was starting to get dirty, so I washed it. I washed it exactly according to the tag instructions and reproofed it before drying it using the recommended squirt-on reproofing treatment and drier temperature.
When it came out of the drier, the glue on the drawstring tunnels had delaminated all the way around the jacket.
I took this one back to the point-of-sale where I had bought the jacket. I didn't have the receipt for this one either, but they were able to look up my purchase on their database and verify that I had bought it there.
The vendor sent it off to Westcomb for warranty. Westcomb reglued the delaminated drawstring tunnels and mailed the jacket back to the store. They called me when it came in, and I went back there to pick up my repaired jacket. Total turn-around time was almost exactly one month.
With those data points out of the way (and lest I be accused of hidden bias - I worked for one year for Arcteryx, about 15 years ago, but I did no deal with any of my old co-workers, or call in any special favours, during my warranty experience there. I also tested two prototype Goretex jackets for MEC head-to-head at a later date) I will also speak to the claim above that "it's all the same stuff".
This is, flatly, wrong.
Goretex and other membranes are, indeed, similar in nature. But there is a wide difference in the face fabrics which are applied to the membrane, and those make a vast difference in performance of the membrane to which they are applied,both to durability and to DWR lifespan and to resulting breathability. The thread count, type and weight of nylon, tightness of weave, stitching, sewing, and other factors all differ between products and manufacturers. These factors play into the product quality and also into the price, although fashion and brand reputation also play significant roles in the ultimate retail price.
Last edited by Dru; 04-11-2015 at 08:02 PM.